Monday, 31 December 2012

2012 in Review

I'm fairly sure that this is the kind of post that should be pre-written to be posted on the last day of the year, not typed out after a couple of glasses of fizzy vino while you spend a cosy NYE at home...again.

This year I have been a dreadful blogger. I really have. The giveaway was the fact that if you scrolled to the bottom of the first page, there was still a blog post from 2011 sitting there.


I'd say I'll try harder next year, and it might not actually be a fib. I still heart my Twitter, but I just don't get to use it the same way at the moment, no time for immediate tweeting of thoughts, so they may start coming out as blog posts again.

They may.

(no guarantees)


2012 - and what I was doing when I should have been blogging.

After 10 weeks on bed rest, I went back to work. Despite being under doctors orders to take things easy, which meant sitting on a stool at the till for 7 hours a day and not a lot of actual working, I was consistently knackered. I had a look at my iPhone pictures to see if I actually did anything, and they are all either pictures of food or screenshots of Twitter. So that'll be a no then.

This is when I went to stay with my Mama for a week, successfully accidentally (sort of) met @kayels and @jayegan at Westfield Stratford, and came home to a newly decorated living room. Then had a bit of a rant about carpet.Also, @sarahanngreen had her lovely Michael which made me very grateful to be pregnant so that I could be properly happy for her rather than very jealous and tearful.

The F1 season started again after what had felt like a very long break, and we visited my Mama again. This was also the first month of my pregnancy where I didn't have a single scan! (I did have two in February though).

This is the month where you start getting pictures! (you lucky lucky things)Not exciting pictures though, just my starting to swell feet.

April was also the month we attended NCT classes, one of the best decisions I've ever made. There were eight couples in my class, and seven of us have met up every couple of weeks since our babies started turning up. As I don't know many people in Wolves outside of work, and no one with a baby, these ladies have been a proper lifeline.

My last day of work was supposed to be the 25th, it turned out to be the 6th. At my midwife appointment on the 8th she was concerned about my blood pressure and so dispatched me to the hospital. I was told to stop work and start taking medication.

On the 15th of May my feet looked like this:

while my stomach looked like this (Esme storing up cuddles):

This meant that I finished my Midnight Moggies cross-stitch in record time.

In fact I finished it just in time to get a good start on the second one when I spent the last weekend of May in the hospital due to worries about bleeding.

Before the hospital stay (above) and afterwards (below)

By the 1st of June, my ankles had vanished.

This meant that I got to enjoy biweekly hospital visits where I would spend an hour or so hooked up to a foetal monitor before being dispatched home again. This cost a bloody fortune as I not only had to get taxis both ways (no way could I manage the bus), I also bought an iPad at 2.30am one morning when I was convinced I was going into labour.
By the 11th of June the swelling was getting more and more silly. You could tell which side I'd slept on by my cauliflower ear!

On the 16th they gave up on my blood pressure and admitted me to hospital. I spent three peaceful days on a ward (single room, own tv), and three hellish days on triage (communal tv stuck on ITV and the two other beds in my room having new occupants every few hours as they went off and delivered their babies), the new iPad saved me on triage as I just played DiscWorld audiobooks constantly to drown out Jeremy Kyle.

On the 19th Megan looked like this:

On the 22nd she looked like this!

We finally got to go home on the 27th, after they changed my blood pressure meds and my systolic blood pressure finally dropped below 100!

Mostly a haze to be honest. Various visits from my Mama and sister and lots and lots from A's parents.
I spent a lot of time curled up in the armchair with a feeding/sleeping/feeding Megan. This meant I got to watch all of the Olympics with zero guilt unlike poor @unkn0wnvariable, who had to put up with an unpatriotic hedgehog!

More Olympics, visits to NCT ladies, and Michael Green's christening.

We spent a lovely week in the Cotswolds with Mama, Emily, and Pete (her new(ish) man) and I optimistically bought the new WoW expansion, Mists of Pandaria, and then promptly didn't play it for two months.

Megan and I gave Anthony a week of peace by visiting my Mama again. I spent a very enjoyable evening in a pub with the NCT ladies, and Megan started Tiny Talk and Baby Sensory classes with much assistance from Kate from the NCT classes who helpfully kept giving us lifts!

Anthony got made redundant and was unemployed for a whole week before taking a temporary (permanent if he wants it) job. Classes and NCT hangouts continued and the lovely @kayels and @jayegan came to visit while Mama was staying too.

I finally got a SPD diagnosis, as well as it being confirmed that I'm suffering from over granulation (seriously, don't google it) so need an operation at some point early next year. (Although not too early, I start jury service on the 7th of Jan!)
Christmas was spent in Essex for the first time since 2007, and it was lovely.


2013 is really going to have to be good to outdo 2012.

I'm all prepared for it though: I've bought my usual diary (and aim to fill more than 3 weeks in) and a brand new calendar for organising us all.

I'm due to go back to work around about the end of March (I think), and so Megan will be going to a child minder, probably full time. This makes me horribly sad, but financially is the only thing to do at the moment. I'm comforting myself with the knowledge that since her fees are more than half my wages, when we have number two (WHEN, NOT IF!!) it won't make financial sense then ;-)

So that was my 2012. I hope yours was equally exciting, and that your 2013 is even better.

In writing this post (for two hours) I have come up with a cunning plan for blogging more. If it doesn't work, I'll see you back here same time next year. xxx

Thursday, 26 July 2012


...Miss Megan Caroline Holmden Leake.


It's a rather belated introduction I know, she arrived here nearly five weeks ago now, but it took me a while to escape from the hospital, and then it's taken a while for me to get back at the computer.

week 28.1 Travel system

But the discovery that while she currently is refusing to sleep in her carrycot/pram (the screams before she settles break my heart too much), she will happily sleep in a sling (I'm becoming a babywearer) means that I am gradually doing more and more during the day (even if this is just one load of washing and making dinner).

Megan asleep

I have to keep reminding myself that it's been a very long time since I've been doing things normally, what with the three months of bed rest, then going back to work (and just wanting to sleep the entire time I wasn't there), then being off with crazy blood pressure, then having a not very straightforward hospital stay and delivery.

So here's to a new normal. (I'm not promising more blogging mind you)

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Who's a...

...dreadful blogger then? (Obviously that is a rhetorical question, you don't need to answer it in the comments!)

Partly it's due to having a long stretch of time where life was just "get up - work - sleep", then it has become "get up - sit on sofa with feet up - sleep".

This is because I have the most amazing inflatable feet and ankles, to the point where yesterday I gave in and bought some flip flops (Union Flag design of course) because the sandals I have been wearing will no longer do up, even if I try to put them on straight after getting out of bed.

The amazing feet and a sudden attack of high blood pressure has meant that I've been in and out of the hospital twice a week for the last three weeks (hence giving up work earlier that planned) for blood pressure checks as they're a bit worried about me developing pre-eclampsia. Currently this does appear to be the case, as although the meds they've put me on seem to be keeping my BP stable, my hands have now started swelling up at night, and urine protein levels seem to be slowly creeping up.

Sitting on the sofa is rather in conducive to blogging, since I am not a laptop owner and haven't been able to get it working properly on my phone (new app just downloaded though).

Also, the temptation is to moan about my achy hips and sore feet and not sleeping and constant heartburn/acid reflux and and and... which quite frankly is all bloody boring and would mask the fact that despite everything I am still bloody joyful to be in this situation and would much rather be in it than not!

It's now less than 4 weeks til my official due date, but I have been told by my consultant (first time I'd seen him since September! (although I've seen a bajillion others in between)) that he "likes to induce high BP ladies between 38 and 40 weeks" so baba will be here before the 24th from the look of things. At the moment I have a final (probably) scan and assessment due for next Tuesday (Jubilee Bank Holiday day) which is when I should find out when I'll be induced.

That means you can probably expect another post from me round about baba's 4th month of outside existence ;-)

Ok, cannot now bend my ankles, so retreating back to the sofa and my cross-stitching (new one, have a peek on Flickr).

Love you all oodles you lovely patient people xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Floor plans...

...are my new bestest friends.

Now these aren't as amazing and all-singing-all-dancing as I would like them to be. In fact, they're not properly to scale in any way, shape, or form. But they're working, so that will do for now.

Living room before.

Living room afterwards (eventually)

(the radiator isn't new, it was just hidden behind the sofa and not heating the room at all, the sofa will now be in front of the fireplace we never use)

Now the scale is so very off because our living room is nowhere near that wide. But I sketched out its previous layout onto graph paper and gave everything approximate sizes. Then we measured the important bits.

Then I just made sure that everything that needed to be on the second plan was the same size as on the first one.

The sofa is not going to be flat against the wall, but coming out from it slightly at the right hand side, probably slightly in front of that bookcase. The left hand chair will be a lot tighter in against the bookcase there, and the right hand chair will end up somewhere near that position but it really depends on where it looks best!

My main plan isn't actually for furniture.

It's for the books. (but you guessed that)

Before, the bottom left bookcase had Pratchett on the top three shelves, then some cookery and craft books, then craft boxes. A real mix of stuff that mostly ended up there because that was the easiest one to change about.

Now I'm planning to move the Pratchett books to one of the bookcases on the right, and to fill the rest of it with the non-Discworld Pratchett (that had been on the other side of the room) and other fantasy fiction.

Instead of three different bookcases all having non-fiction on, I'm going to group it all together. Depending on where I'm most likely to sit to sew, the boxes of sewing stuff will be on the closest bookcase. The two bookcases on the top right will be filled with fiction books, and the bottom three or four shelves will all be double packed with paperbacks.

I know how I want it, kinda. But it really will take the actual moving things in for me be to be able to get it right.

The living room saga...


As I was saying, we'd originally booked ourselves a weeks holiday that was supposed to be spent going away with Anthony's whole family to celebrate his parents 50th wedding anniversary later this year. It had to be that week because it was half term. Although since nobody could agree about where to go and how much it should cost, nothing happened.

I thought I'd get to spend a nice bit of time with Anthony and we could both unwind after the stress of the last few months.


I went off to stay with my mother on the 13th, and Anthony came to stay for one night on the 18th and then drive me back on the 19th.

His dad came to stay for a week and they blitzed the living room. The old brown wall paper was pretty easy to remove, but the fact that the previous owner had removed, then added, then removed a succession of dado rails, and patched up any holes with concrete, made it not so straight forward after all.

But now I have a living room with walls painted in a lovely grey-white which makes it feel a million times bigger.

I also have a living room that contains the tv and its stand, the desk and computer, and the sofa.

It feels horribly big and empty. Pretty much like it has since work started on it over two months ago.

The next step is to get a new carpet. We've chosen it, and my lovely mother is contributing towards the cost (as A's parents paid for the floor renewal) (While I am grateful that they did, as we couldn't have afforded it, the fact that I am supposed to be grateful about something I had no choice about, makes it impossible to be grateful *enough*)

We just have to get it fitted. And my patience is rapidly vanishing.

After weeks of doing things based on other people making decisions, I suggested that we get the carpet fitted next week as otherwise it'll be another month before I can start getting any bookcases back in here. Of course, the timing isn't right for his dad to be able to pop over during the week for the hour that the carpet men will need. Even though we don't know which day they can do yet.

*head desk*

If the carpet goes down next week, then I can spend next weekend, when I'm not working, supervising people moving the bookcases in and refilling them. If it has to wait for my next weekday off work (the 9th of March), then either the bookcases will be moved and filled while I'm at work, (which I don't want, as I want to sort them out as they are moved), or the bookcases need to wait until the 17/18th March which is my next weekend off.

Oh, and the first Grand Prix of the year. Australia. 6am race start time Sunday morning.

Also the beginning of our last weeks holiday together before the baby arrives. Which is already filling up with eleventy-million things to do.

Also more than three months since the work in here started and 95% of my library became inaccessible.

Unsurprisingly, I'm a little itchy!

And ranty. But you hadn't spotted that, had you?


After I got a little bit over emotional on Friday evening, we went to the carpet shop. They're fitting it between 9 and 12 on Monday. #happykate 

Friday, 24 February 2012

I may be messy...

...but I'm not disorganised. Yes, 99% of the time the computer desk will have piles of paper all round the keyboard, but 99% of that time I can find exactly what I'm looking for (the 1% being if Anthony has been hurling stuff around).

But at the moment I am both messy and disorganised. I hate it. It makes me itch.

There'd been a strange lumpy bit in our living room floor for a very long time. It wasn't a major problem, we just stuck a chair over it. But then one day I moved the chair and realised that the lumpiness had spread to the wall...

So when Anthony's folks came round the following Sunday bringing a builder with them to look at fixing up the utility room to make it more weatherproof and secure, we got him to have a look at the floor instead.

Turns out that the heating pipes that run the length of that wall had been bodged together by the previous owner, and so one of the joints had been very very slowly leaking.

Just a case of patching that bit of floor and wall, yes?
The area where the pipe had leaked was also where the bodger had pulled up the old hearth area, so none of that area was any good.

So a case of patching the hearth area of floor?
The way the rest of the floor surface was breaking up made the builder suggest that we needed the whole sub-floor ripping up and a new concrete floor laid.

Since this was two weeks before Christmas, and the weekend before my 12 week scan, I was hoping for "we'll get rid of all the loose stuff, then do it properly after Christmas."

Not my decision to make apparently. (Not Anthony's either)

So the work actually started on the day of my 12 week scan. A week and a half's worth of no heating, lots of dust and noise, just when I'd started to be less stressed.

They did the floor in three sections in the end.

Each section was done about three days apart, to allow for the concrete to go off enough so that they could then use that surface when working on the next chunk.

For most of the time I got to keep a couple of bookcases in there. The rest are all out in the conservatory. I get extra itchy when I can't get at my books.

The next decision taken was to get the room redecorated while it was empty. A quote was obtained and a decision taken. (again, not by either of us)

Which is why I spent the week I was supposed to be on holiday with Anthony, staying with my mother while he and his dad decorated.

To be continued...

When I was little...

...apparently my grandmother told my mum that I was "her comeuppance".

I suspect that this wee thing may be mine.

I had my anomaly scan on the 7th of February, and got to see lots of a very cute wiggly baby. Lovely close-up view of its mouth and nose (while the sonographer was doing the cleft palate checks), and watching it trying to grab at its feet was very sweet.

But since it was in a breech position, spine to my spine, and very low in my pelvis, the sonographer was unable to get a good shot of the length of its spine and its coccyx. After all the angles I'd been holding myself at in order to try to get a clear shot, it also was no longer in a great position for photographs so we decided not to get any taken.

My second anomaly scan was yesterday, and this time the obliging little bugger was lying head to my left, feet to my right and lying on its stomach.

Perfect spinal viewing. The final check shot took seconds to get.

Then the fun of trying to spot the sex and get a decent picture started.

Thanks to the umbilical cord running down between its legs, and it helpfully squashing the cord against itself while doing a can-can high kick, the sonographer made a guess as to the sex, but couldn't tell for sure.

As for the pictures, the first one was obtained by me rolling onto my left and the sonographer getting a quick screengrab before the little bugger rolled back over. In fact she got it just as it was rolling, hence the slightly strange head! The second shot is a blurry one that she captured just in case - which was a good job as baby really didn't want to pose.

I've got another scan at the beginning of April, when I also have my first Anti-d shot, so hopefully baba will want to pose and let us know if we need to keep on trying to choose a girls name!